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Monday, June 30, 2014

Gold friends

I never was a Girl Scout but one of my daughters did a short stint selling cookies in the green uniform.  Cutest ever, for sure.  Other than the addictive Thin Mints, the thing I recall most from that time is one of their songs.  The main line was "Make new friends but keep the old.  One is silver and the other is gold".

A package arrived on my doorstep today that brought that song to my mind.  A box full of love, just like my family spells it - F-O-O-D.  Oh my goodness - there was a container of spiced pretzels  so good it would make your tongue slap your brains out.  A canister of lemon bars that caused greed to spill out amongst my  family members.  And a tin of homemade cheese straws that will most surely be served in Heaven because they are were a delicacy fit for the King of Kings.  Now that I have you drooling, I'm sorry you don't get to share them.  Trust me - DIVINE.

From an old friend.  Or as my friend DeeAnn puts it - "a longtime friend".  The gold kind. I was fortunate enough growing up to not only have my own peer group but to also get to piggyback on some of my older brother's friendships.  Lots of his buddies were kind enough to let me hang out with them from time to time, especially if I came bearing brownies!  And the gals were sweet to me whether I had anything to offer or not!  But this gold friend that sent the goodies - well, what makes it even more awesome than the taste or the longtime relationship or the connection as a friend of my brother's is that this is the MOM of an old friend.  She knew my family liked these things so she slaved in her kitchen to make them for me.  That's 24 karat gold, y'all, 24 karat.

In a world where people change jobs and homes and friends as quickly as I change out seasons of clothes, I am so very grateful for my friends.  All kinds of friends.  Acquaintances, folks that share a sports chair beside me for swim season, church friends, business associates, neighborhood friends, cyber-colleagues, but especially gold friends.   Friends that you have history with.  Shared memories. Friends that you might not stay in physical contact with but have hearts still connected after all these years.

Yes, I am very grateful for gold friends.

And cheese straws.  Just sayin.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Happy Birthday, Jonathan

Two years ago today, my world changed.  The whole world changed, actually.  Because my grandson arrived.

Jonathan Miller Alligood, Jr.

In just two years, he has given us a lifetime of laughs and cheer, a universe full of hugs and kisses, and enough hope and promise to fill the whole world.  That's what babies do to us all. That's why we applaud their arrival, marvel at their uniqueness, and lay down our lives to make theirs better. They give us a glimpse of God's greatness, His love, and our hope in Him.

Dear Jonathan, I know you've inherited a world where peace is not ubiquitous, a country where selfish agendas set the pace, and an extended family that is far from perfect.  But I pray that you will be able to change all that, even if only a little bit.  I pray that you will be so aware that the foundation of love you've been set on is sure and strong that you'll have what it takes to bring about transformation in the lives around you.  If I could, my precious little fella, I would fix it all for you. I'd make everything perfect for you to enjoy.

  I'd love to give you

Sunday, June 22, 2014

To the Granddaddy at the pool

One of the privileges of my summers is getting to assist the venerable Miss Sandy with swimming lessons at Shamrock pool. Now, full disclosure, I am only a sub for when one of my kids (bonafide instructors) cannot be there.  I am merely there for crowd control and the last stop before drowning but Miss Sandy knows I love "helping" her and she good-naturedly looks waaaaaaaay down the bench and calls me in from time to time.  Betsy is the last in our  line of Chambers swim teachers.  I don't know what I'll do when she graduates from this.  Maybe Miss Sandy will still need someone to smile and cheer and adjust goggles........

Anyhow, sometimes I go with my kids even when I'm not teaching subbing in, just to watch them teach and to see all the adorable  kids and their Mommies.  Remember, Shamrock Pool is my happy place - anytime I can be there is a great day!  So, the other evening I was there to watch.  After noting to myself that, yes, my children are surely the cutest and most wonderful swim instructors ever, I moved on to observing the parents. 

That's when I saw the Granddad.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The T's of a Happy Heart

We are all seekers of happiness.  It's our constitutional right, for crying out loud!  And most of our time and energy is spent in some measure in the quest of happiness.  From an infant protesting her empty stomach to a lonely octogenarian hoping for company, we are wired to seek satisfaction. 

While it's true that is very easy to become self-focused in our pursuit of joy, I think the real issue isn't our desire to be happy but rather the problem of where we seek to find it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Emotional whiplash

Emotional whiplash.  Or parenting schizophrenia.  Those are the terms I use to describe a condition that the medical community may not recognize but one that is quite well known to all moms.

In fact, I was having a couple of conversations with some of my fav swim team Moms and this was our topic.  One of them grinned and said "you should blog about this."

Sunday, June 15, 2014

To the single Dads

I thought about this post all day.  And just couldn't get it to type itself.  The words wouldn't flow.  The thoughts were jumbled.  I wanted to write a tribute for Father's Day.  About my own precious Daddy and about the magnificent Daddy to my four kids.

But all I could think about were some fellas who were observing this day as a single dad.  And I knew no Mom was there to prepare them a special dessert or to see that cards were made or gifts were purchased.  And I cried and cried and cried for them.

I know men don't get all hyped up about holidays and I know they probably don't see this day the way Moms see their counterpart celebration in May.  But I hurt for them anyway.  'Specially because the fellas I have on my mind didn't choose to be single.

And then I cried for their kids.  I wondered if their hearts hurt because they realized Daddy was supposed to be celebrated today and they didn't know how to pull that off. 

It's not that I didn't have these hurts on Mother's Day when I thought about my girl friends in this same plight.  It's just that it seems to me that men don't get the same sympathy. And I'll bet they hurt and feel alone and defeated, too.

I don't have anything encouraging to offer.  No words of counsel.  I just needed to acknowledge these men somehow.  Even in such a small way, I hope they find some comfort and some courage in the fact that somebody notices.  Actually Somebody way more important than this blog.

He sees.  He cares.  He sustains.  He will not forsake.

Happy Father's Day to every single man who loves his children.  Thank you.  To all of you.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Tips for the Parents of Graduates

After I handed out my advice to this year's graduates, some of us parents realized that this is a time of transition for us as well.  Maybe even more so than the students!  Seems like parenting is more than anything adjusting to the changes.  I remember when my kids were infants, I was always shocked at how often I needed to change out their clothes for the next size up.  Turns out that was only a dress rehearsal for the metamorphosis of the relationship........

So what are some things we parents need to know in order to handle these transitions successfully?  Here's what some of my cronies and I discussed-

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Guest post - from Mary

I asked my Mary to do a guest post for today.....

With all of the lists that flood Facebook news feeds as of late, I am shocked that I have yet to come across one titled “5 Reasons Why Your Work Ethic Matters”. If this list does exist, I am confident it is only career related. So when mom asked if I would write a guest post on her blog, I graciously decided to fill this void in the cyber world.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The book of James

James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings
James 1:1

There is so much packed in this one little verse!  A handful of words with a truckload of meaning.  I am reading through James with some twenty-somethings this summer and here's what we unpacked from James 1:1....